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05 Aug 2021
by Dan Phipps

How data can make your recognition strategy more inclusive

Having an inclusive company culture is no longer optional. Employers that don’t have inclusive cultures risk losing top talent and business success, as Josh Bersin of Deloitte reminds us: “Companies that embrace diversity and inclusion in all aspects of their business statistically outperform their peers.”


Unfortunately, most diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts have had lacklustre results with only 44% of employees feeling their organisations’ D&I efforts are sincere, and 35% of employees saying that their organisations aren’t doing enough to address discrimination internally, according to the Global Culture Report (2021), conducted by the O.C. Tanner Institute.

Building truly inclusive cultures means going beyond just improving diversity numbers in recruiting. Instead, inclusion must be built into the everyday employee experience and company culture. Recognition technology and reporting can help play a pivotal role in driving this key initiative.

Recognition data can point out inequalities and inform D&I efforts

More organisations are using advanced technology, like artificial intelligence and machine learning, to assist with D&I efforts. Looking at recognition data can provide powerful insights. Knowing who is being recognised, who is giving recognition, and what is being recognised can be integrated with other demographic and performance data to help make the employee experience more inclusive.

Our Global Culture Report shows that 52% of organisations are using advanced technology to support diversity and inclusion efforts, and 45% are considering it to support recognition initiatives and better their company cultures. To illustrate the opportunity, consider one organisation’s surprising findings – an annual culture and engagement survey found women and line-level supervisors felt less appreciated compared to other employees. Looking at their recognition programme data, they saw no significant difference in the amount of recognition these groups had received.

Using advanced technology to analyse the data more closely, the organisation found a difference in the words employees used to recognise each other. Male employees received recognition with stronger positive statements at a higher magnitude when compared to female employees. Line-level supervisors also received recognition with lower positive sentiment and magnitude.

Going a step further, the organisation blended the data from the engagement survey, recognition programme, and their performance management system. The analysis revealed that female employees and line-level supervisors received less than fair performance reviews and were more likely to feel disconnected from the organisation.

These findings helped create a targeted strategy to better interact with female employees and line-level supervisors. The data informed targeted training and coaching for leaders that was more cost-effective, easier to manage, and more impactful in addressing the root causes of disengagement and feelings of exclusion.

If data can tell a story, recognition data can paint a very clear picture of employees who aren’t always heard.

Data supports a fair culture

Appreciation is a powerful connector because everyone wants to feel valued and know they are making a difference. It’s the simple act of seeing people as humans. It’s also something everyone in the organisation can do – from the CEO to the newest hire – to build a more inclusive culture for all. And by supporting recognition efforts with data insights, you can help to ensure the recognition given remains fair to all and no-one feels marginalised.

The author is Dan Phipps, culture and engagement strategist from O.C. Tanner Europe.

This article is provided by O.C. Tanner Europe.

In partnership with O.C. Tanner

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